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NASA Man-Made Noise Floor Study Summary Program Results. National Spectrum Managers Association May 25, 2005 James E. Hollansworth NASA Headquarters. Measurements of Man Made Spectrum Noise Floor. Rationale & Objective:

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NASA Man-Made Noise Floor StudySummary Program Results

National Spectrum Managers Association

May 25, 2005

James E. Hollansworth

NASA Headquarters


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Measurements of Man Made Spectrum Noise Floor

  • Rationale & Objective:

    • In many instances new wireless technologies support applications in unlicensed bands or “underlay” existing services on an unlicensed basis.

    • This could result in a degradation of the noise-floor environment.

    • There is a need to examine whether the observed noise floor results are consistent with applicable regulations governing those bands

  • NASA is particularly concerned with noise floor in bands used for crucial safety and scientific purposes

  • NASA Partnership with the Department of Transportation, Clemson University, & Stanford University

  • Funding by NASA and DOT

  • Published as NASA CR-2004-213551, available at http://ntrs.nasa.gov/


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Stanford University conducted a survey in the L1-Band (1563.42 - 1587.42 MHz), Unified S-Band (2025-2110 MHz), and Industrial Scientific and Medical Band (2400 - 2482.5 MHz)

Clemson University conducted a survey in the Passive Sensing Band (23.6 – 24.0 GHz)

L1 - Band

S - Band

2.4 ISM -Band

Passive Sensor Band

Measurements of Man Made Spectrum Noise Floor


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Measurements of Man Made Spectrum Noise (1563.42 - 1587.42 MHz), Unified S-Band (2025-2110 MHz), and Industrial Scientific and Medical Band (2400 - 2482.5 MHz)

Sample Survey: San Jose Downtown, CA GPS L1 Band Measurements

Equipment and Location

GPS L1-Band Temporal, Spectral, Angular, & Statistical Analysis


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Key (1563.42 - 1587.42 MHz), Unified S-Band (2025-2110 MHz), and Industrial Scientific and Medical Band (2400 - 2482.5 MHz)

Significantly greater than natural noise power

Slightly above the natural noise power

Indistinguishable from the natural noise power

Stanford Measurement Results

  • Stanford University Survey Results

    • The GPS L1 Band is relatively pristine and quiet

    • The Unified S Band has emissions due to non-Government services

    • The 2.4 GHz ISM Band is discernibly noisier than regulated bands

    • Urban areas are noisier than rural environments

    • Airports and harbors are generally similar to urban areas

Average Received Power (in dBm/MHz)


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Clemson Measurement Results (1563.42 - 1587.42 MHz), Unified S-Band (2025-2110 MHz), and Industrial Scientific and Medical Band (2400 - 2482.5 MHz)

  • Clemson University Survey Results at 24 GHz

    • Overall no appreciable levels of man-made radiation

    • Nineteen spectral peaks were, however, detected at two airport sites

      • 3 in a single frequency at Hartsfield Jackson Airport

      • 10 at the Oconee County Airport

      • Anomalies possibly related to satellite service to commercial trucks


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Conclusions (1563.42 - 1587.42 MHz), Unified S-Band (2025-2110 MHz), and Industrial Scientific and Medical Band (2400 - 2482.5 MHz)

  • In bands open to public utilization, the power spectrum is far above the thermal noise floor

  • In restricted bands the power spectrum is close to the thermal noise floor

  • Current rules appear to be effective in determining the radio environment

  • Future regulations should be sensitive to the function of each band:

    • Each band supports different types of applications

    • Some bands support critical systems and cannot tolerate operational failure and need to be protected from any interference

    • Other bands can tolerate a certain level of interference while requiring more bandwidth

    • Restricted bands should not be considered for operations of unlicensed and unregulated services


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For additional information contact: (1563.42 - 1587.42 MHz), Unified S-Band (2025-2110 MHz), and Industrial Scientific and Medical Band (2400 - 2482.5 MHz)

James E. Hollansworth (Jim)

NASA Headquarters

(202) 358-4675

[email protected]


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